Mechanical Properties of Natural Fibre Mat Reinforced Thermoplastic
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The use of natural fibres instead of man made fibres, as reinforcements in thermoplastics, gives interesting alternatives for production of low cost and ecologically friendly composites. In this work different commercially available semi-finished natural fibre mat reinforced thermoplastics (NMT) composites have been studied. Mechanical properties and microstructure of different NMT composites were investigated and compared to conventional GMT (glass fibre mat reinforced thermoplastic) composites and pure polypropylene (PP). The study included also NMT composites manufacturing processing parameters as processing temperatures and pressure during compression moulding. The results showed that NMT composites have a high stiffness compared to pure polymer and the NMT with a high fibre content (50% by weight) showed even better stiffness than the GMT. The GMT composites had superior strength and impact properties compared to the NMT which might be due to the relatively low strength of the natural fibres but also to poor adhesion to the PP matrix. The NMT materials showed a large dependence on direction and are therefore believed to have more fibres oriented in one direction. The stronger direction (0°) of the NMT was in some cases as much as 45% better than the 90° direction.
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